LONDON – One of the two suspected assailants in last week’s hacking death of a British soldier was released from the hospital Tuesday to undergo questioning by police, while the family of his alleged accomplice spoke of their “shame and distress” over the brutal attack that has shocked this country.
Michael Adebowale, 22, had been hospitalized since Wednesday after being shot by police, who responded to reports of an attack on a southeast London street. Upon his release from the hospital, detectives took Adebowale to a London police station for questioning. The crime had the hallmarks of an act of Islamic terrorism.
The other chief suspect in the attack, Michael Adebolajo, 28, who was also wounded by police, remains in the hospital under armed guard.
Both men are British citizens of Nigerian descent.
Adebolajo has been identified as the man who was filmed shortly after the attack, declaring the savage killing of soldier Lee Rigby to be payback for the deaths of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq. Images of the suspected assailant holding butcher knives in his bloodstained hands were beamed around the world.
Adebolajo’s family issued a statement to British media Tuesday expressing sorrow and horror over the death of Rigby, a 25-year-old drummer with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
“We wish to state openly that we believe that there is no place for violence in the name of religion or politics. We believe that all right-thinking members of society share this view wherever they were born and whatever their religion and political beliefs,” the family said.
“We wholeheartedly condemn all those who engage in acts of terror…. We unreservedly put our faith in the rule of law and, with others, fully expect that all the perpetrators will be brought to justice under the law of the land.”
Adebolajo grew up in a devout Christian family but converted to Islam about 10 years ago, according to British news reports. Both he and Adebowale had apparently attracted the notice of security officials but were not deemed to pose an imminent threat.
Besides the two alleged assailants, Scotland Yard has arrested eight other people suspected of knowing about or contributing to the attack. Most have been released on bail.